November 27, 2017

Validation of European patents in Tunisia effective from December 1, 2017

The European patents are becoming available for validation in Tunisia obtaining the same scope of protection as national patents in Tunisia. The corresponding agreement was signed between EPO and Tunisian IPO on July 3, 2014, but only now it is coming into force on December 1, 2017, after the adoption of the relevant pieces of legislation.

Tunisia becomes the third country, after Morocco and Moldova, to sign such validation agreement. The concept is the same: the validation has to be requested at the time of EP filing/entering PCT regional phase, or within six months of the publication of the international search report, whichever happens later. A new form for filing with EPO including Tunisia for validation PCT NP entry will be available on the EPO website as of December 1, 2017.

Besides, the prescribed fee of EUR 180 must be paid to the EPO within the time limit mentioned above. If the applicant fails to pay this fee in due time, the same sequences will be applied as if validation fee for Morocco or Moldova hasn’t been paid. In this case scenario, validation fee can still be paid with a surcharge of 50% within 2 months from missed deadline or EPO communication of loss of rights following non-payment of the designation fee, if any. Upon expiration of these terms, the request for validation is deemed withdrawn with no possibility to restore.

With Tunisia as a validation state, an applicant can obtain patent protection in 43 countries through the single examination and grant procedure which significantly cuts down the expenses. The total market covered by EU patent extends to over 700 million residents.

The EPO President, Benoît Battistelli, acknowledges a great opportunity foreseen for European inventors and companies to enter a developing market of Tunisia. The Director-General of Tunisia’s National Standardisation and Industrial Property Institute (INNORPI), Amel Ben Farhat, emphasizes that bringing Tunisia’s national market into line with the European one is a great step in a view of the 2016-2020 National Development Plan.

It's worth noting that validation may be requested only for EP and PCT applications filed on or after December 1, 2017. IP-Coster quotation system will reflect the validation fees as soon as they enter into force. It is possible to get a quote online choosing the validation states as well as the extension states of your interest. To review more information about current patent registration procedure in Europe or other jurisdictions, please visit our applicant’s guide.

Author: Lynda Miller